US 20070068461 A1
A toileting device for a domestic animal. The toileting device comprises a textured surface and a liquid collecting structure. The textured surface has a plurality of apertures configured to allow the passage of liquid waste through the textured surface. The liquid collecting structure is positioned below the textured surface and has a drain and a nadir for guiding liquid waste to the drain.
1. A toileting device for a domestic animal, comprising:
a textured surface having a plurality of apertures configured to allow the passage of liquid waste through the textured surface;
a liquid collecting structure positioned below the textured surface having a drain and a nadir for guiding the liquid waste to the drain.
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an upper tray; and
a lower tray separated from the upper tray by the drain.
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13. A toileting device as claimed in
an upper plug receivable by the upper tray, the upper plug having a substantially funnel shape, and a lower plug receivable by the upper plug, the lower plug having an annular groove,
the funnel and annular groove forming a drain passage when assembled.
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This application claims foreign priority to New Zealand Patent Application Serial Number: 542641 filed Sep. 27, 2005. The entire disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to a toileting device for a domestic animal.
2. Description of the Related Art
Domestic animals or pets, such as cats, often live indoors or spend a lot of time indoors. A cat often requires access to a device for toileting indoors. Such a device may comprise a tray or litter box with absorbent material such as an absorbent granular material, newspaper or similar absorbent material. The granular material, newspaper or absorbent material needs to be continually removed from the tray and replaced with fresh material. A disadvantage of using granular material or similar is the ongoing cost of replacing the material as it is used.
It is known to provide a screen over a toilet bowl for use by a domestic animal. For example, WO 88/02596 describes a sanitary device for cats and other small pet animals. A flat screen, described as a perforated central member, is supported on the rim of a conventional toilet by supporting members. The animal supports itself on the screen while toileting and waste travels through the screen into the toilet.
The main disadvantage of the product described in WO 88/02596 is that it must be assembled and disassembled whenever a pet wishes to use the device. This would have the disadvantage that a pet may wish to relieve itself at a time that is inconvenient or unsuitable to the owner or perhaps the pet is unable to communicate the desire to relieve itself to the owner. Furthermore, there would be a problem when a human wishes to use the toilet that the user must remove the screen and place the screen somewhere in the bathroom leading to possible hygiene problems.
PCT patent specification WO 2004/071182 describes a pet toileting device. A flat grating is supported by a frame. Within the frame is positioned a pad of sand, newspaper or similar absorbent material that is used to absorb liquid waste. The product described in WO 2004/071182 does not solve the problem of having to continually replace the absorbent material used to collect waste to reduce odour.
In this specification, where reference has been made to external sources of information, including patent specifications and other docurnents, this is generally for the purpose of providing a context for discussing the features of the present invention. Unless stated otherwise, reference to such sources of information is not to be construed, in any jurisdiction, as an admission that such sources of information are prior art or form part of the common general knowledge in the art.
In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a toileting device for a domestic pet, comprising: a textured surface having a plurality of apertures configured to allow the passage of liquid waste through the textured surface; a liquid collecting structure positioned below the textured surface having a drain and a nadir for guiding the liquid waste to the drain.
As used herein “(s)” following a noun means the plural and/or singular forms of the noun.
Preferably, the textured surface comprises a plurality of spaced apart projections.
Preferably, the upper portions of the projections are generally smooth.
Preferably, the upper edges of the projections are radiused or curved.
Preferably, the lower portions of the projections have relatively sharp edges.
Preferably, the textured surface further comprises elongate ribs connecting adjacent projections in one direction.
Preferably, the textured surface further comprises webs extending between adjacent projections in another direction.
Preferably, in plan view the projections are generally rectangular. Alternatively, in plan view the projections are generally tear drop shaped.
Preferably, the textured surface further comprises a cover positionable over the projections with a plurality of apertures corresponding to the plurality of projections.
Preferably, the drain comprises a water trap.
Preferably, the drain comprises: an upper plug receivable by the upper tray, the upper plug having a substantially funnel shape, and a lower plug receivable by the upper plug, the lower plug having an annular groove, the funnel and annular groove forming a drain passage when assembled.
Preferably, the drain may be positioned in a substantially central location of the upper tray. Alternatively, the drain may be positioned in a location offset from a central location of the upper tray.
In a preferred embodiment, the toileting device further comprises an air vent and an air filter.
Preferably, the textured surface is formed from a plastic material.
To those skilled in the art to which the invention relates, many changes in construction and widely differing embodiments and applications of the invention will suggest themselves without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. The disclosures and the descriptions herein are purely illustrative and are not intended to be in any sense limiting.
The invention consists in the foregoing and also envisages constructions of which the following gives examples only.
The present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
Referring to FIGS. 1 to 4, there is shown a first preferred toileting device indicated generally by reference numeral 1. The toilet device has a textured surface 3, and a liquid collecting structure. The liquid collecting structure has an upper tray 7, and a lower tray 9 that houses and supports the upper tray and textured surface. The upper tray supports the textured surface 3 above a drain that includes a water trap, for example an s-type drain 55.
The upper tray 7, as shown in
The textured surface has a honeycomb structure formed from a plurality of projections or support lugs. The textured surface has a top surface 29, bottom surface 31, and apertures 23 extending from the top surface to the bottom surface.
The apertures 23 are evenly spaced along the length and width of the textured surface. Each aperture is square with tapered sides 33 from the top surface through to the lower surface. The sides of the neighbouring apertures form a point 27 on the lower surface of the textured surface. These points encourage any liquid waste to drip from the points down to the upper tray 7.
A cross section of the textured surface showing the tapered apertures, support lugs and points is shown in
The textured surface 3 is formed from a plurality of projections or support lugs 25.
The support lugs 25 provide areas for a domestic pet to stand that will keep their paws free from the waste collection area. The smoothness of the projections ensures that their paws are not hurt or damaged when in use. It will be appreciated that other shaped projections may be used, provided that the surface has no sharp points or edges.
Another function of the textured surface and the projections is to provide a surface to collect solid waste or other material and prevent any solid waste passing through to the trays. The solid waste is removed by the pet's owner and disposed.
FIGS. 10 to 16 show a first embodiment of the s-type drain 11. The first embodiment of the s-type drain is formed as a two piece plug. The drain has an upper plug 41 that is received by the upper tray and a lower plug 43 that is received by the upper plug.
The interior of the upper plug is funnel shaped 45 and the lower plug has an annular groove 47. When assembled the funnel and annular groove form a drain passage in the shape of an “S” as shown in FIGS. 13 to 15. Any gas or odour is substantially inhibited from leaving the lower tray. This is because the gas is not able to pass over the rim into the groove and into the immediate environment. A vent may be provided to allow air to escape as the lower tray fills with liquid waste.
The upper plug of the first embodiment is circular when viewed from above. The upper plug has tapered sides 49 which are adapted to be received in the aperture formed in the upper tray. Four diametrically opposed removal lugs 51 are spaced around the perimeter of the plug.
The drain passage allows liquid waste to pass through the channel into the groove and flow over the rim, into the lower tray or an inner tray.
After use, a portion of liquid waste 21 remains in the groove of the drain. This remaining waste can be flushed through to the lower tray by pouring water through the textured surface into the toileting device. The water will flow through the drain and flush the remaining waste into the lower tray. Waste may also remain in other areas such as the textured surface or the upper tray. The cleaning action will flush any remaining waste through to the lower tray collection area.
In the preferred embodiment, the lower tray 9 has two catchment areas, for example two inner trays 63, 65. The drain will be positioned or configured so that any liquid waste 21 leaving the drain will flow into the first inner tray 63 and not the second inner tray 65. In the embodiment shown, the inner trays are placed side by side inside the lower tray. The drain 55 is positioned offset from the centre of the upper tray so that waste will flow into the first inner tray. When this first tray is filled, the upper tray 7 is lifted out, rotated 180° and placed back into the toileting device. In the new position, the drain 55 is located so that waste will flow into the second tray 65.
In an alternative embodiment, as the first tray fills up, it will periodically be removed and replaced by the second tray. Rather than rotating the upper tray, the second tray may slide along to replace the first tray. After the first tray has been emptied, it can be replaced into the toileting device into the original position of the second tray.
In another embodiment, there may be one inner tray 71 only. A cross section of a toileting device with one inner tray is shown in
Alternatively, the lower tray may collect the liquid waste directly. The lower tray can be emptied via a drain or by removing the textured surface and upper tray. The lower tray can then be emptied or washed out as required.
Absorbent material may be placed on the textured surface. However, the amount of material required is less than that required for conventional toileting devices for domestic animals.
The upper tray, lower tray, air vent, textured surface and s-type drain are injection moulded plastic components. The inner trays are blow moulded components. The upper plug, lower plug and air vent are manufactured separately and connected together during assembly.
A second embodiment of the textured surface, indicated generally by reference numeral 101, is shown in FIGS. 23 to 30. The textured surface of this embodiment has a cover 102 and a draining surface 103.
In plan view, each projection 105 has a teardrop shape with a wide, rounded end 109 and a narrower, pointed end 111. The orientation of the projections alternate along each row. The rounded end 109 of one projection faces the rounded end 109 of a projection on one side and the pointed end 111 faces the pointed end 111 of a projection on the other side.
A cross section of the draining surface 103 showing the projections 105 and apertures 106 is shown in
When viewed from the front, the teardrop shape of each projection tapers towards a sharp edge 135 at the lower surface. The surface 121 of the projection corresponding to the wide, rounded end initially extends downwardly in a generally vertical direction 123 to a convex portion 125, then to a concave portion 127 that ends near the bottom edge of the rib. The edge of the projection corresponding to the pointed end extends downwardly in a generally vertical direction 129 then curves upwards 131 to join to the top edge of the rib 107.
In the embodiment shown, the ribs are positioned between the pointed ends 111 of the projections. Each rib 107 is radiused or curved at the top end 133 and the lower edge 135 is relatively sharp. The sharp edge encourages any liquid waste to drip downwards to the tray below. The height of the ribs 107 is below the height of the projections. The ribs connect adjacent rows and provide strength and rigidity to the structure.
Each projection is connected to the adjacent projections in the row by webs 108 extending between the projections. The webs have a concave upper surface and taper towards a sharp lower edge 137. The lower edge is curved to encourage any liquid to travel towards the sharp edge 135 of the ribs.
In this embodiment, the toileting device further includes a cover 102 positionable above the draining surface. The cover has a plurality of apertures 141 spaced in rows and columns corresponding to the spacing of the projections 105. The apertures 141 are sized to substantially inhibit solid waste passing through to the upper tray, but allow passage of liquid waste.
Each aperture is shaped generally as shown with two rounded ends 143 corresponding to the wide, rounded ends 109 of the projections 105. Between the ends, the aperture has a reduced width 145 corresponding to the pointed ends 111 of the projections. Liquid is drawn through the cover 102 and draining surface 103 via capillary action.
The cover has a plurality of downwardly projecting ribs 147 extending across its width. When assembled, the ribs engage between the rounded ends of the projections.
The cover 102 provides an area for a domestic pet to stand that will keep their paws free fiom the waste collection area. The smoothness of the cover ensures that their paws are not hurt or damaged when in use.
A third embodiment of the textured surface, indicated generally by reference numeral 201, is shown in FIGS. 30 to 36. This embodiment is similar to the second embodiment with a cover 202 and a draining surface 203. Unless described below, the features and operation should be considered to be the same as those described above.
The third preferred embodiment textured surface differs in that the projections 206 are generally rectangular with radiused or round ends.
A cross section of the draining surface showing the projections and apertures is shown in
A number of elongate ribs 207 extend across the width of the drainage surface, connecting adjacent rows of projections. The ribs 207 extend from a central portion 209 of each projection to the adjacent row of projections. Each rib has a diamond-shaped cross section with inclined upper 211 and lower surfaces 213. The lower surfaces 211 meet at a edge 215, which encourage liquid to drip down towards the liquid collecting structure.
Each projection 205 is connected to the adjacent projections in the row by webs 208 extending between the projections. As for the second embodiment, the webs 208 taper towards a sharp lower edge 235. The lower edge of the web is curved to encourage any liquid to travel towards the sharp edge of the ribs. The upper surface of each web has two inclined faces that meet at a notch 249.
In this embodiment, the toileting device also includes a cover 202 positionable above the draining surface. The cover has a plurality of apertures 241 spaced in rows and columns corresponding to the spacing of the projections 205. The apertures are sized to substantially inhibit solid waste passing through to the upper tray, but allow passage of liquid waste. Each aperture is substantially rectangular with two rounded ends 243 corresponding to the shape of the projections. Liquid is drawn through the cover and draining surface via capillary action.
The cover has a plurality of downwardly projecting ribs 247 extending across its width. When assembled, the ribs engage in notches 249 of the webs.
Preferred embodiments of the invention have been described by way of example only and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the invention.
For example, the pattern of apertures in the textured surface may vary. Further, the shape of the apertures, projections, support lugs may vary, for example, they may have circular, oval, or hexangular shapes.
The preferred embodiment has been described with two inner trays. However, it will be appreciated that there may be more or less inner trays, for example, one or four. In these alternatives, the location of the nadir and drain and shape of the upper tray may be altered to accommodate the number of inner trays.
While the invention has been disclosed in connection with certain preferred embodiments, this should not be taken as a limitation to all of the provided details. Modifications and variations of the described embodiments may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, and other embodiments should be understood to be encompassed in the present disclosure as would be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art.